Wednesday, September 22, 2021

I’m On Your Side by Tigers Jaw Review

By: James Goff / Music Specialist

Thanks to a hole in Wikipedia’s Tigers Jaw discography, as well as my own negligence, I completely forgot about one of the group’s stronger albums.

According to YouTube user THEDUDEOFCOOLNESS: “This album was originally intended to be their debut on summer steps records instead of their self titled. This album was recorded in 2006 and when they were ready to release it Adam and Ben both decided it sounded [bad] and scrapped all of it. It was never released. How the guy who posted this has any of these files is totally beyond me and Ben [Walsh] of Tigers Jaw. I was talking to him about it at the show and he said it was never released and deleted from pretty much all forms of recording/editing device which was a reel to reel tape recorder sort of set up.”

Obviously any info coming from a YouTube comments section should be taken with a grain of salt, but it makes for a very interesting backstory. I, personally, disagree with Walsh and McIlwee, because some of the songs or versions of songs on this LP are definitely worth hearing.

For example, the intro to The Sun that first appears on the self-titled is listed here as the 40-second No More Coffee, immediately followed by the thrice-released hit. Once again, this version of The Sun is wonderful. It has a stronger emphasis on that key line: “What about your friends, do they make you happy?” When I saw the group perform the song live, I would consider it most closely related to this version, simply because of the stress on that key phrase. It was the first time I had ever really noticed the lyric and it truly blew me away. Another formerly released song that makes an appearance is Untitled, which went by It’s About Killing People on the 2006 Belongs To The Dead. However, the mood of the song is about as different as possible, where here it feels almost jazzy, very mellow. Positive Life Interlude and Positive Life take on the Two World‘s track Buona Pizza (which I still don’t entirely know how to pronounce. However, I did literally just realize that it’s an actual pizza place in Scranton). Similarly to this LP’s rendition of It’s About Killing PeoplePositive Life  and its interlude are far more mellow than the finished project.

I honestly have to disagree with the group entirely on not releasing this piece. It is a fantastic depiction of their music at its best early on. An emo/pop punk band/lo-fi group that somehow fuses shoegaze into the mix. It can be most easily seen on songs like Phantom Power and The Choke, two of my favorites on the record for the reasons described above. The record has a wonderful power of making you move. Whether it is a light head-bob, rapid toe-tapping, or just straight dancing, the piece is probably my favorite by the group.

Favorite Track: Untitled


Kimberly Davenport
Kimberly Davenport grew up in Montrose, Pennsylvania. She currently teaches English and digital journalism at Blue Ridge High School, and is the adviser for the school's online newspaper, the Raider Reader. Kimberly loves traveling, spending time with her family (especially her grandchildren), and can often be found reading a good book.


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